Do you like pumpkin pie and brownies? Well I have both for you in one delicious recipe! Pumpkin combined with nut butter gives you a lovely moist fudge texture. Dust with cacao powder to serve for afternoon tea or top with a dairy free cream to serve as a dessert. Spiced Pumpkin Brownies can be made nut free by replacing the almond butter with sunflower butter. You can also make it cacao and chocolate free if you have intolerances, just omit both ingredients and bake a Spiced Pumpkin Slice, just as delicious, I love them both.
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Preheat oven to 170c. Line the bottom and sides of a 22cm (8.5in) square cake tin with baking paper.
Have your pumpkin cooked (steam or simmer in a little water), if you want to use mashed pumpkin, you will need 1 cup.
To a food processor add, cooled pumpkin and almond butter, (make or purchase a smooth almond butter). Process for approximately 20 seconds to produce a very smooth mixture.
Add to the pumpkin mixture, coconut four, cacao, spices, baking soda, salt, eggs, honey and vanilla. Process for 20 - 25 seconds, stopping once to scrape down sides of bowl. Remove blade. Add dark chocolate pieces, use a spatula to stir through by hand.
Pour into the prepared cake tin, spread mixture evenly out.
Bake for 30 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean (don't over cook, you want a fudge texture). Allow to cool in tin, then remove by the baking paper and place on a chopping board and cut 4 x 4 rows (wipe the knife blade after each row is cut).
Serve at room temperature with shifted cacao powder on top, it's also delicious as a dessert topped with dairy free cream and a strawberry.
Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week, also suitable to freeze.
For Nut free: Replace almond nut butter with sunflower butter or tahini. For Cacao free: Omit cacao powder and chocolate pieces.
Like all orange pigmented vegetables, pumpkins are rich in beta carotene (vitamin A) and studies show pumpkin contains more than carrots.
Almond butter may also be called almond spread. It is finely ground down almonds to a texture resembling a paste. In my cookbook I have a recipe for roasted almond butter, which has extra flavour due to the roasting and a little organic salt added. If purchasing a commercial almond butter in a jar, make sure it's 100% almonds.
Coconut flour is made by drying and grinding the meat of a coconut to a fine texture. Coconut flour is a low-carb flour that's an excellent source of dietary fibre and protein. It's a good grain-free and nut-free alternative but does require a larger amount of liquid than normal when used for baked goods. When replacing in a recipe that calls for wheat flour (or almond meal), use this guide; 1 cup of regular flour = 1/3 cup coconut flour, add an extra egg and an extra 1/3 cup of liquid. It can be used in soups, gravies and stews as a thickener and adds a boost of nutrition. There are now quite a few brands of coconut flour available and they all seem to perform differently depending on how coarse the texture is. In my recipes I used Organic Coconut Flour from 'Let's Do Organic' and 'Red Tractor Foods' I like their finer texture.
Raw cacao powder and cocoa are made from the same source but are so different. Cacao powder is raw, unsweetened and in it's natural state, it has a stronger flavour and you would use less than cocoa powder. It is so good for you; high in dietary fibre, iron and is a good source of magnesium and antioxidants. Cocoa has been heated and processed, the high heat when processing kills all the minerals and vitamins.
I am sure you will notice as you read my recipes that cinnamon appears quite frequently. It lends itself to savoury and sweet dishes. I have used ground cinnamon in my recipes if not stated otherwise. The best cinnamon to use is Ceylon (Verum). It has huge health benefits in regulating blood sugar levels. Cinnamon has antifungal properties and candida (yeast overgrowth) cannot live in a cinnamon environment. Added to food it inhibits bacterial growth, making it a natural food preservative and these are just a few of the benefits.
Allspice is a dried fruit and gets its name from its flavour, which seems to be a blend of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. The fruit is picked when green and ripped in the sun, when dried they are brown and look similar to a peppercorn, it is then ground for use in cooking.
Ginger root is widely used as a spice but also for medicinal purposes. It is a hot spice which you will find in many commercial curry powders. It's often used to prevent motion sickness and nausea. Some studies have shown joint swelling in people suffering with arthritis experience less pain and swelling when taken daily. I like to use fresh minced ginger in my meals and dry ground ginger in baked goods.
Nutmeg is the seed kernel of the fruit-nutmeg. The seed is dried and ground. It is one of the highly prized spices known for its aromatic, aphrodisiac and curative properties. Nutmeg is a good source of minerals like copper, potassium, calcium, manganese, iron, zinc, and magnesium.
Also known as Bicarbonate of Soda or Sodium Bicarbonate and is used as a rising agent in baking, it contains no gluten or grains. I use Bob's Red Mill baking soda as I find it rises better than other brands I've tried.
Raw pink Himalayan salt crystals is unlike common table salt which can be a highly refined industrial byproduct, otherwise know as sodium chloride. Himalayan salt is completely pure and may naturally balance the body's alkaline/acidity and regulate water content. In addition Himalayan salt helps in the absorption of nutrients from food and contains many trace minerals for healthy cell structure. I purchase fine pink Himalayan crystal salt so I can use it in my shaker and for cooking.
I have used large free range or organic eggs from a 700g carton in my recipes. Eggs are one of the few foods considered to be a complete protein because they contain all 9 essential amino acids, also studies have shown that lutein (yellow colour) in egg yolks protects against the progress of early heart disease.
Use unrefined or raw honey. It is the most common natural sweetener in my recipes. It's best to buy local unprocessed honey as it has wonderful health benefits and can help with allergies. Generally honey sold in supermarkets has been processed. Honey possesses antiseptic and antibacterial properties.
Use an organic vanilla extract (not an essence) or vanilla powder. Vanilla makes a big difference to the flavour of a recipe, I recommend keeping to the quantities I have stated in a recipe. I prefer Madagascar pure vanilla extract manufactured by ‘Simply Organic’ and for powder, Vanillamax 100% pure, finely ground Madagascar vanilla beans produced by Bulletproof.
In some of my recipes I have used Paleo approved dark chocolate drops/chips, they are dairy, soy, and gluten-free (my favourite brands are, 'Absolute Organic' or 'Chef's Choice' certified organic 70% cacao, purchase online or from health food stores). I also used 70 - 85% organic dark chocolate blocks, they can be broken into pieces or melted for recipe. I also make my own chocolate from: cacao butter or coconut oil, raw cacao powder and sweetened with 100% maple syrup, pinch of sea salt and vanilla extract.